2015 Drifter Tracks
resolving transport pathways through New England's continental shelf waters and beyondupdated every two hours
See a GoogleMap of just this month's tracks.
See leaflet animation of all tracks.
See the latest quicker gif animation of tracks.
Download drifter construction manuals and lesson plans
Find out how to get involved with the project
See frequently asked questions
Predict where a drifter (deployed off New England) will go
To see this month's tracks overlaid on other fields (sst, models, etc), go to the MARACOOS site and click on "Drifter" layer.
See drifters and unmanned sailboats documented at NERACOOS
Read a description of the drifters themselves and how to use them.
Access the historical drifter data.
Blog about students deploying drifters with our MATE colleagues
Document a drifter finding
Read about drifters in the news
Get information on a related unmanned sailboat project
Plots of this year's tracks are linked in the table below.
Get raw statistics.
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Drifter tracks from other years:
2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014
To get PYTHON processing routines, email firstname.lastname@example.org for the latest versions.
To see information on individual clusters, click the links in the following chronological table
|Institution (data)||Deployer (report/blog)||Date Deployed (animation)||Dropsite (forecast)||#units||Science (googleearth)||Status (googlemap)||Type of Unit (photo)||Fate (photo)|
|Educational Passages||Baldwin||02 Dec 2012||Gulf Stream||3||educational||underway||boats under sail||deployed Dec 1st, 2012 off N. Carolina by Joe Robillard; one found by a small boat fishermen near Guernsey Island (off the NW corner of France) on Feb 16th, 2014 and was redeployed in the Bay of Biscay in Jan 2015 but came ashore in France 10 days later, one got stuck in what is apparently a "garbage patch" SW of the Azores for nearly a year, one did a gyre loop back to SC after a few months.|
|Educational Passages||Baldwin||08 Nov 2013||North Atlantic||9||educational||underway||boats under sail||two deployed off N. Carolina by Joe Robillard, two deployed from the Canaries by PLOCAN, and five deployed by New England offshore Lobstermen Todd Ellis, Bob Colbert, and Bro Cote. One landed in Portugal and one in Spain in mid-November 2014. One of the Canaries-launched units, "Glenna", crossed to Brazil in two months!|
|Truro Central School||OLeary||28 Oct 2014||Off Cape Cod||1||education||done||Irina surface drifter||retained in Great South Channel for weeks, eventually entrained in the shelf-slope front jet to MAB, then the Gulf Stream, until it started failing mid-February beyond the seamounts|
|Educational Passages||Baldwin||late 2014||multiple places||7||educational||underway||boat under sail||one made a soft landing on a sandy beach in Ireland after four months at sea and brought into a classroom, another made a hard landing in the Orkney Islands of Northern Scotland and has not been heard from since, ...|
|Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services||Dusek/Standridge||03 Dec 2014||Chesapeake Bay||1||model validation||done||Irina surface drifter||oscillated off the eastern shore for a few days, headed out into the Gulf Stream and then a cold core ring, until battery probably died in Feb 2015|
|Southern Maine Community College||Long/Tarbox||04 Dec 2014||Casco Bay||1||education||done||Eddie surface drifter||quickly moved south into Mass Bay, Georges Bank, and eventually all the way past the Grand Banks before it died in early May 2015|
|Jacksonville Univ||Stalker||06 Feb 2015||off Florida||3||river plume||done||surface drifters||"Crystal" sank, "BigBoy" went ashore after 1-2 days, while "Wilson" traveled thousands of kilometers out into the Atlantic|
|South Shore Natural Science Center||Galuzzo||05 Mar, 21 May, 11 June, 28 July 2015||Mass Bay||5||education||done||all-wood surface drifter in March and two aluminum and 1 bamboo in May, more aluminum in June and July||all wood exited the bay in less than a week and evidently went down in a storm on Nantucket Shoals (18 March), Plymouth ( alum & bamboo(ESN 996055) and Hull (alum) drifters deployed 21 May headed out to sea, Weymouth (alum) deployed off Bill D's boat went to Marblehead in 6 days and redeployed in Plymouth Harbor on 28 July and died on Georges Bank months later (for more, see blog)|
|University of Central Florida||Mansfield||16 Mar 2015||off Brazil||1||turtles||done||bucket?||Landed on a remote sandy beach hundreds of kilometers to the south a week later.|
|Cape Fear Community College||Degan||30 Mar, 21 Apr, and 16 Jun 2015||Gulf Stream||3||Marine Tech||underway||unmanned sailboat||one quit after a week, one landed on Hatteras after a month where the USCG responded to report of a "capsized boat on the beach" and laughed when they found, to their surprize, the miniboat which got redeployed on 16 June and ...|
|Florida State University||Balwada||22 Mar 2015||Gulf of Mexico||3||Marine Sci||done||drifters?||short multi-hour deployments within Apalachicola Bay|
|Swampscot High||Wilbur/Ratley||17 Apr, 29 May, 22 Dec 2015||Mass Bay||6||education||done||Irina and Eddie surface drifters||first pair (April) came aground in a few days, the second pair (May) ended in several days with one being recovered from the water by a Hingham fisherman and one landing on a Nahant beach, and a third deployment (150420705&6 Dec) was deployed fishermen, Paul Garcelone, 1.5 miles south of Marblehead on 22 December but, for unknown reasons, they failed to report|
|Suffolk Univ||Stehlin||17 Apr 2015||Mass Bay||1||engineering experiment||done||drogued drifter||slow start but made it around the Cape and on to Nantucket Shoals in mid-May, died late July off NJ|
|Scottish Gov't||Hughes/Berx||05 May 2015||Northern Scotland||8||HF Radar validation||done||4x4 mast surface drifters||a couple failed after several hours in the water but other six headed east to come ashore on the Shetland Islands|
|Educational Passages||Baldwin||2015||multiple places||7||educational||underway||boat under sail||includes the "Bon Voyage" trip ending in France in late November 2015|
|Eastern Maine Skippers||Guenther et al||14 May, 2 July, 29 July, 3 Aug 2015||Maine Coast||5||high school science||done||Irina surface drifters||workshop-built drifters to deployed by Narraguagus High(stuck in Jordan's Basin), Vinalhaven High, Deer Island High (Johnson Boyse's F/V JackieO)LAPCOD (off Winter Harbor Whale Watch Boat picked up days later and redeployed offshore) ; Jonesport unit never reported|
|Grays Reef Marine Sanctuary||Peterson||18 May 2015||Georgia||2||river outflow/dye study||done||bamboo cassie surface drifters||headed to the Gray Reef Sanctuary and then stopped reporting GPS|
|GOMI||Lauber/Trimper/Balkus/Terry||03 Jun 2015||off Merrimack River||6||education||done||Irina surface drifters||student deployed!|
|UNE||Schotte||15 Jun 2015||off Saco River||1||education||done||student designs||best selected of many; was deployed after testing many with students on board; died in mid-Oct beyond Georges Bank|
|Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services||Dusek/Standridge||19 Jun 2014||Alaska||3||model validation||done||Irina surface drifters||two recovered while underway 1-2 days in and the 3rd came ashore on east side of Dundas Bay|
|Univ of Maryland||Xia||30 Jun 2014||Lake Michigan||6||Dispersion||done||Irina surface drifters||a few failed, a few came ashore after a week, and a few skirted the coast for a month before also coming aground on the eastern shore|
|Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services||Dusek/Standridge||5 Jul 2014||Alaska||2||model validation||done||Irina surface drifters||one ashore on a mid-sound island after a two days and one exited the sound and came ashore four days later south of the mouth where it was recovered by Steve's salmon-pen-tendering brother one|
|GOMI||Terry/Hollaron||03 Jul 2015||Bay of Fundy||2||education||done||Irina surface drifters||student deployed! One ashore for awhile on North Head of Grand Manan 22 July and later on White Head Island (never recovered) while the other one ended up on Heron Island east of Isle Au Haut in late August 2015|
|OceanExplorationTrust||Beckendorf/Garson||19 Jul 2015||California||1||education||done||Irina surface drifters||student deployed!|
|Tabor Academy/NOAA||Bill, Randall and Anderson||20 Jul 2015||Buzzards Bay||3||instrument tests||done||Irina surface drifters, Tabor surface, and Tim drogue||incoming Freshmen deployed off the Academy's Tabor Boy vessel including new "Tim" play tunnel drogue but the two surface units came ashore on Nashawena the next day (both eventually recovered by the Tabor Boy) while the drogued drifter was recovered drogueless on the south side of Long Island, NY on 21 August by Peter Daniel, a biology professor at Hofstra University, who tracks trout|
|University of Georgia||Casteleo||22 Jul 2015||Gulf of Mexico||3||w/gliders||done||experimental floatie drifters||two stopped reporting after a few days and the third a few weeks later|
|Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services||Dusek/Standridge||20 Jul 2014||Alaska||3||model validation||done||Irina surface drifters||all recover a few days later|
|Center for Student Coastal Research||Buckley||5, 25 Aug and 31 Oct 2015||Mass Bay||6||marine debris||underway||surface drifters||Deployed by Paul Adams and students|
|OceanExplorationTrust||Garson||08 Aug 2015||California||4||education||done||Irina surface & Colin Drogues drifters||drogue#2 didn't survive a few hours but the other drogue and the two surface units did fine until the drogue washed up on San Nicolas Island and one of the surface on a San Diego Beach a week or so later|
|VIMS||Santos||12 Aug 2015||Chesapeake||2||turtles||done||buckets||prep for wooden turtle study with pole ballast to be deployed eventually...headed out the river mouth in the 5 hour test deploymentYork River and recovered|
|Hurricane Island||Anderson and Page||23 Aug 2015||off Southern Maine||1||education||done||surface drifter||Deployed by Rozalia Project's R/V American Promise but apparently failed soon after|
|Grays Reef Marine Sanctuary||Peterson||1 Sep 2015||Georgia||1||river outflow/dye study||done||bamboo cassie surface drifter||headed south along the coast and was picked up by a fishermen 10 miles off Sebastian Inlet mid-coast Florida in 11 October|
|UNH Center and Marine Biology||Goldstein/Morrissey||16 Sep 2015||Great Bay||1||lobsters||done||buckets||often short tracks|
|Great Lake Environmental Research Lab||Ruberg||24 Sep 2015||Lakes Huron and Michigan||3||exchange||done||Eddie 2x4 drifters||two came ashore of south side of Lake Huron between Mackinaw and Cheboygan on 9/30 and the other went ashore on the northeast corner of Beaver Island in Lake Michigan in early October.|
|South Shore Natural Science Center/Battelle||Galuzzo||6,8,25,27,31 Oct 2015||Mass Bay||5||education||done||surface drifters||Weymouth (by Bill Doherty's lobster boat), Hull_High (by Eric Meschino's); Hanover_Middle_School, Rockland, and Plymouth_Middle_School|
|Long Beach Island School||McBride||07 Oct 2015||off New Jersey||1||education||underway||Irina surface drifter||deployed by Pete Dolan, a Barnegat Light fisherman, took off in the Gulf Stream and ...|
|Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctury/GOMI/Nauset & Monomoy High schools||MacManus/Prescott||07, 21, and 22 Oct 2015||Cape Cod Bay||~10||turtles & education||done||Irina surface drifters||Nauset & Monomoy Schools; first unit went to N Truro beach, some of 2nd cluster went to Barnstable Harbor (recovered by Greg Hamm) & Dennis mud flats (Shawney recovered one and Jim Mills photographed another before it went in Quivett Creek); in general, the 3 batches showed them grounding at a variety of places from Barnstable to P-town|
|GOMI||Terry et al||Oct 2015 - Jan 2016||Gulf of Maine||~13||turtles,cod, & education||underway||Irina surface drifters||RVCS units deployed with students on-board circled around for a few weeks and landed on Isle of Shoals (recovered by Star Island Conf Center folks) and Hampton NH rocks (recovered by JiM's students). There was not much left to them when they were recovered. RVCS redeployed both in late Nov (one died in GSC on Dec 20 and one came ashore on New Years Eve busted at Race Point to be recovered by a beachwalker & Jesse from PCCS). Harborlights Montesorri (working with Salem Sound Coastwatch and MassDMF) deployed one (150420707) in Mass Bay cod spawning grounds on 18 December; Kennebunk High worked with GMRI to deploy another in early January in Ipswich Bay|
|First Presbyterian Day School||Lewis||12 Oct 2015||Gulf of Mexico||1||elementary education||done||Irina surface drifter||assembled by 5th graders, deployed by Dept. of Natural Resources, coming ashore a few weeks later|
|Savannah State||Hintz||16 Oct 2015||off S Carolina||2||flood water education||done||Cassie bamboo surface drifters||Assembled by Savannah State University undergraduate and graduate Oceanographic Instrumentation classes (MSCI 4572 & MSCI 6572) to study the fate and transport of historic SC floodwaters entering the coastal ocean; headed down to Florida, out to the gulf stream, and died a few days after New Years near New England Seamounts|
|Univ. of Connecticut||Whitney/Jia||23 Oct 2015||Ct River Mouth||5||flood water education||done||buckets||Oceanography class activity; one came ashore at Old Dock Marina after a few hours, was redeployed at Avery Py and came ashore again Groton Long Pt. The other got out into the Sound, oscillated for several days, and came up on a beach south of New London on 29 Oct. A pair was released on 30 Oct with Waterford High but ended up on Fishers Island soon after.|
|Southern Maine Community College||Long/Tarbox||17 Nov and Dec 2 2015||Casco Bay||6||education||underway||Eddie and tall Lauren surface drifters||1346667 Lauren;1346664 Lauren;1346988 Eddie;1344335 Eddie;1346696 Lauren;1347019 Eddie;1346688 Eddie|
|Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctury/GOMI/MiddlesexCommCollege||MacManus/Moffat||late Nov 2015||Cape Cod Bay||1||turtles & education||done||Irina surface drifters||one MCC unit transitting for a few weeks and died|
|NOAA/NESDIS||Ondrusek||12 Dec 2015||off S Carolina||1||Education||done||Irina surface drifter||short demo recovered after 8 hours|
|Educational Passages||Baldwin||2016||multiple places||10?||educational||underway||boat under sail||includes the "Crimson Voyager" deployed in late 2015; "Lightning Bolt" and "SS DCA Eagle" late winter 2016;|
|NOAA Marine Debris||Cape May Fishermen||27 Feb 2016||Shelf edge||1||marine debris||underway||Irina surface drifter||First deployed off Cape May, NJ by F/V Karen Elizabeth on 27 Feb|
|NOAA Marine Debris||Essex MA Tech||17 Mar 2016||off Gloucester||1||marine debris||underway||Irina surface drifter||Deployed by fishermen, Jim Ford|
|Jacksonville Univ/Bolles School/Foundation Academy||Stalker/Murphy/Paris||16 Mar 2016||off Florida||5||river plume||underway||surface drifters||Larger Bolles' School drifter tracked differently than standard size units|
|University of Georgia||Casteleo||29 Mar 2016||off Georgia||1||Altamaha river outfall||underway||revised experimental drifters|
|South Shore Natural Science Center||Galuzzo||Jun 2016?||Mass Bay||2||education||planned||surface drifters||Plymouth_Middle_School redeployment in February and Inly School's first in June|
Note: Most units are prepared by marine science students. The majority are standard "surface drifters" marking only the top 1-meter of the water column, but some units, as in the case of EP boats, track the wind and wave at the surface and some have subsurface drogues typically centered at 10m-15m below the surface. For details, call 508-495-2211 or email email@example.com.